BUILDING HEALTHY MILITARY COMMUNITIES TOOLKIT
A RESOURCE FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HEALTH PROVIDERS AND COMMUNITIES
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of families. To get SNAP benefits, Service members must apply in the state in which they currently live and meet certain requirements, including resource and income limits. Many working families use this program to help supplement their food budget. All U.S. citizens have access to this program if they fall at or below set income levels, but eligibility requirements differ by state.
It is important to note that SNAP has very few limitations on what can be purchased with the supplemental funding. As a result, families can purchase unhealthy foods. SNAP-Ed is a companion program to SNAP that teaches people using or eligible for SNAP about good nutrition, how to make their food dollars stretch further, and how to be physically active. SNAP-Ed works by building partnerships with all types of community organizations. SNAP-Ed works in communities to launch or support social marketing campaigns, hold nutrition education classes, and improve their policies, systems, and environment. SNAP-Ed even addresses local issues like lead poisoning.
ChooseMyPlate is a comprehensive online resource based on the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Service members can use this site to create a personalized food plan based on their age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. The site also covers the basics of food safety and food waste prevention which can help Service members maximize their grocery dollars.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children – better known as the WIC Program – serves to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women; infants; and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating including breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health and other social services. All U.S. citizens have access to this program if they fall at or below set income levels.
Active People, Healthy Nation℠ is a national initiative to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. This website offers factsheets, presentations, social media posts and badges, and print and digital advertisements that can help encourage military families to increase their level of physical activity.
CDC’s Move Your Way website offers easy-to-understand resources for adults, older adults, parents, and kids to help people learn to live healthier lives through increased physical activity.
The Cooperative Extension System (Extension) is part of the Unites States’ Department of Agriculture land grant universities. Extension provides low to no-cost education and learning activities to people throughout the country with the goal of improving the lives of individuals and families through nutrition education, food safety training, and youth leadership development. Many Extensions offer other classes ranging from parenting, money management, and disaster preparedness.
Each state has an Extension program with multiple sites. In many states, there are sites in each county or parish which tailor class offerings to local needs. The number and distribution of programs available make Extension and ideal partner for reaching geographically distributed Service members and families.